Food Photography

Despite my generous proportions, I am really not that much of a foodie, myself. I eat to live, I suppose, but food preparation has never been one of my interests or fortes. Given the chance, I would probably not cook at all, hateful, hateful bane of my housewife-ly existance *hisses*. And hence, food photography has never been a particular interest of mine, either.

But photographers are not picky when it comes to jobs. We take what we can get, and on the back of the photographic high we will get enthusiastic about pretty much everything that gets popped in front of our lens. Ok, I draw the line at mug-shots of criminals or politicians (pretty much one and the same species), but whether it is photographing a GP clinic, producing marketing material for designer blankets or providing portfolio shots for make-up students – I enjoy it all. But the shoot I did for my friend Ellen of Splendor – Cakes and More literally made my mouth water as well as get my creative juices flowing.

Ellen had been asked to submit a cake design to *the* industry magazine for sugarcraft professionals which only considers photographs of professional standard for their magazine. A case for Marky Mark and Sonja… The difficulty with shoots like this is that they need to be done on location – cakes don’t really travel that well. So armed with reflector, tripod, collapsible softbox and flash we set up a temporary studio in Ellen’s kitchen. Well, house, more like, as the shoot quickly spread to other rooms in her house in order to find well-lit areas where I could get atmospheric shots of the cake. Tricky: The cake was white and reflective, glittering bronze and gold. The backdrop needed to be muted in colour, i.e. white, really. We styled and photographed for at least two and a half hours. A nice collaborative exercise in which the art direction was with Ellen.

The result were about 250 photos, close-ups and full-size shots, all sorts of angles, three or four set-ups. In the end I opted to shoot with natural light only as the softbox did not fit our “studio space” and the unfiltered flash was too harsh. On the plus side, the hues came out pretty realistically, so the post-production was easier. The photos had to be edited down to a tenth of the total, which Ellen then had to choose her final submission from to send in. Both cake and standard of photography found the editors’ approval, and the Valli-inspired cake made it into the magazine and onto a double spread. And this is the mouth-watering work of art:

cake central tearsheet

Tearsheet from Cake Central Magazine, September 2013

If food looks that good – I’ll have no problem with food photography! Congrats to Ellen for making it into Cake Central Magazine!

PS: These cakes actually taste as good as they look.

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